Last night I had cauliflower and I liked it. That's the power of Cesar, a tapas bar with locations in Berkeley and Oakland: turning cauliflower haters around.
The crisp fried cauliflower with spicy salsa rojo and lush salsa verde is just one of many delicious treats I've savored in my four trips to this convivial spot. It was founded by three Chez Panisse alums, so the food is always seasonal and made with high quality ingredients. Case in point: the bright orange, mint and black olive salad Jess and I shared last night, drizzled with a fragrant, snappy olive oil.
Also, the Cesar martini ranks as my favorite cocktail right now: vodka with a teeny splash of pastis. The hint of licorice in the ice cold vodka perks ya up and primes your palate. Not that it needs much encouragement here--just looking at the menu gets me going.
Try to grab a seat at the bar or the communal tables at either location--chatting with your neighbors and glimpsing their orders will certainly lead to trying new dishes--maybe even something you think you hate, like cauliflower!
4039 Piedmont Avenue
Daily 11:30am to midnight
1515 Shattuck Avenue
Daily noon to midnight